With community at its core, Seattle moss study prompts improvements in two Duwamish Valley neighborhoods
by Yasmeen Sands, USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station
October 18, 2022
A community science case study mapped heavy metals in moss in two industrial-adjacent neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington, with a history of poor air quality, health outcomes, and racial inequities—yielding findings that have prompted short-term mitigation and followup instrumental air quality monitoring. Led by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station, the study is the first of its kind in which residents, notably local youth, collected and prepared moss samples as part of an environmental justice investigation.
“Mosses absorb pollutants from the air, making them good bioindicators of air quality,” said Sarah Jovan, a research ecologist with the PNW Research Station and the study’s lead. “Concerned community groups in Seattle’s Duwamish Valley engaged the Forest Service to conduct a moss study there geared towards informing local action because existing air quality information was insufficient for understanding neighborhood-level patterns.”
Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.4109